Incident happened on Sunday morning between Xabia and Denia; three other riders left seriously injured

Two cyclists have been killed and three others seriously injured, with one fighting for his life, after the group they were riding in was hit by a driver reportedly under the influence of drink and drugs on Spain’s Costa Blanca.

The fatal crash, involving six members of a triathlon team who were out on a training ride, reportedly happened on the N-332 between Xàbia and Dénia, an area popular among British riders for cycling holidays

Traffic police based in Valencia said the riders were struck by the motorist at around 8.30am this morning and that the driver, a 28-year-old woman, had been taken into custody.

The most seriously injured rider was taken to hospital in Valencia by air ambulance, reports the Diario Informacion, while the others were taken to local hospitals to receive treatment.

The newspaper reports that the victims all belonged to the triathlon section of the Club Atlètic Llebeig de Xàbia.

It has named the dead as Eduardo Monfort – whose father is an ex-mayor of Xàbia – and Luis Alberto Contreras, whose son Andrés Contreras is among the injured.

The other two riders who were injured have been named as Scott Gordon and José Antonio Albi.

Officers from the Guardia Civil based in Gandia have taken charge of the investigation, and sources say that the motorist tested positive for drink and drugs and has been arrested on suspicion of reckless homicide.

The only cyclist to escape the incident without serious injury was club president Jaime Escortell, who explained that the car had missed him “by centimetres” after he threw himself from his bike.

He said: “I was saved because I threw myself on the hard shoulder.

“Everything happened quickly,” he added.

“The six of us set out as we do on many Sundays, and we’d had a long, tranquil ride.

“Suddenly a car going at a considerable speed came past us. We had no time to react.”

He added: “I only have a few scratches but I am still in shock.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.